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texas tech with the problems in lubbock and the leach disaster. maybe comes riding in on his magic carpet. we're with neil cavuto right now. >> thank you, shep. that reminds me, looking live at the white house. the president is expected to step up to that podium any moment. he's meeting with his top security advisers and expected to announce a lot of new airline safety measures. we've gotten a sense of a few of them. two orders in the wake of the christmas day bomb attack on northwest flight 253. when the president does speak, of course fox will bring that to you live. fox on top of terror front and center. i'm neil cavuto. they botched it. now meeting with the president how to fix it. 20 security officials from a slew of different agencies sitting down with the big guy today. follows word that the white house was warned as far back as
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october about explosives being hidden in underwear. no one connected those dots or briefs or whatever you want to call them. the c.i.a., got a call from the suspect's dad his son had been rat callized and in yemen warning of a possible attack by the nigerians. so is this the problem? are there simply too many cooks in the kitchen and to make matters worse they're not cooking or talking to one another. dave thompson says not much has changed since 9/11. a former member of the 9/11 commission and former governor of illinois, that state's longest serving governor. good to have you, governor, thanks for coming. >> thank you, neil. >> what do you make of this and what the president has to do and what's at stake? >> i think first of all a number of the recommendations the commission were followed that created the national terrorism center, they created the director of national intelligence. we've got good people in all those posts. but, obviously, in this case
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there was human failure to connect the dots. and i don't care how much they talk about, oh, well, in hindsight we should have. no, in foresight they should have. when the father comes into the embassy in nigeria and says my son's been radicalized in yemen and the embassy in nigeria reports this back to washington, the first thing that should have happened was looking at his visa, then cancelling it, then putting him on the no-fly list, that could have been done based on the father's report alone. but then when we get intelligence of yemen about using a nigerian making an attack on the united states, for sure we should have cancelled his visa instead of saying, well, we'll look at his visa again after it's expired. because the results of that was 300 people on the plane almost
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expired. so this is a very big wake-up call. and the first place we should wake up is to toss out the views of the so-called privacy advocates who have been hangin' around the fringes of this question for the last five years, a body scan with the technology today doesn't invade anybody's privacy. you can't tell whether it's a man or a woman. >> but yet it's these privacy groups, governor, that still make a big deal of it. we're just getting word that the minneapolis airport. more on that. we'll let you know but it's on the heels of this disruption in newark a couple days ago. but what keeps happening here? >> the congress needs to stand up to these folks and say, hey, mandatory patdowns are a bigger invasion of privacy than the body scan. i would hope that the president of the united states tells
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people today that there will be mandatory body scans on every domestic polite in the united states and before every flight coming into the united states. it doesn't have to delay anybody. you walk into the machine, hold your arms up, they do the scan, you walk out. people take more time forgetting that there's metal in their pocket or taking their shoes off or piling stuff in three bins than a body scan would take. >> let me ask you this. you warned about this in the report of 9/11, you warned about people putting bombs in underwear. this is something you even spelled out. that was years ago. did anyone read it, follow up on it? >> yeah, they read it. five years ago this recommendation was made by us that we had to have a system that would find explosives concealed on the person. you know, we do the baggage, the
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carry-on baggage. we x-ray everything but nobody did anything in part because these groups had congress scared. >> governor, i want to update folks on this development at the minneapolis airport. the minneapolis st. paul international airport. this is the scene going on right there. plane so far are not formally grounded but just a few minutes ago, a canine dog unit got a positive hit on a bag from an inbound flight and this prompted security breach that they routinely handle by at least shutting down that gate area. tsa has been paged but it has not responded to the scene as yet. still looking to confirm but these initial reports are a bag coming in from an inbound flight. that's all we know. but, of course, this follows only 48 hours after huge service disruptions at newark liberty international airport where a fellow just sort of disappeared
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walking the wrong way. never found the guy but it was enough to disrupt tens of thousands of passengers. governor, bottom line, this stuff keeps happening. and maybe we are being extra careful now but what do we do or would -- are we too trigger happy now or responding to developments of the past where we've not been? >> well, frankly, we'll be a little trigger happy for a while after these incidents. although i thought they went a little far when they pulled people off of airlines from the ramps because this guy walked through the exit. i understand the motivation to be as careful as you can. and i suppose if i was in the tsa and saw all the criticism from flight 253 on christmas day, i would be a little over the top, too. but, apparently, in this report that you've had today, they're confining it to the gate area which makes sense. >> sir, let me ask you while i still have you, governor.
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is it your sense, you served on the commission and closely watched the developments that led up to and the could have, would have been moments that we're gonna get hit again on an airline? >> no. i think after this incident on christmas day, if we start using the body scanners everywhere and we keep in place the security measures we have now with regard to airplanes, the heightened cockpits, the change in rule, airplanes will be pretty safe. my fear has always been they can hit us some place else. five trucks across the nation exploding at the same time. five malls going up at the same time. the food supply being tampered with. railroad lines out in the desert being blown up. gas and oil pipelines blown up. we're a big wide open country and its impossible, impossible to prevent every security breach. we've been lucky since 9/11.
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>> do you think they're targeting airlines? does it seem to be they keep going after -- >> if they keep targeting airlines, it doesn't make any sense. and if that's the level of their intelligence, maybe we'll be all right. the only thing left i think after body scanning to make sure there's nothing on the person is the fear that mcu's, rockets or missiles to shoot at planes from the exterior rather than the interior. the safest place in the united states is going to be inside an airplane. >> in the united states doesn't necessarily apply to a plane coming to the united states from abroad though, right? >> that's why i said the rule has to be that you cannot fly a plane into the united states until your passengers have been body scanned. it's a simple as that. and nigeria's doing it. yemen's doing it. let's get with it. >> good point. governor, thank you very much. >> my pleasure.
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the president is about approximate to announce his new guideline for airline security. the minneapolis st. paul airport they have a bomb threat. we're keeping on top of it. my next guest says the guidelines are fine but the president should call this what it is, a war on terror. michael seal joining me now. mike's got a new book out right now. the 12-step program for defeating the obama agenda. terror is a big theme. >> terror is a big theme. an important issue since we've seen since christmas that won't go away. and it won't go away because there are people out there who do not like the united states, who do not like fundamentally what we stand for when we look at our constitution and the freedoms. you know what i find so ironic is that the very people that want to blow up that constitution, if you will, now are gonna be wrapped in it by this administration when it comes to holding trials and civil courts here in the united states addressing this young
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hoodlum, you know, terrorist as someone who has the same rights as you and i and treating him in that fashion. this is not what americans have invested in in terms of the dollar spent so far as the governor noted through the works of the commission did on homeland security to protect this country, to have us now turn around and open up the doors to terrorists to use our very judicial system against us. >> but whether it's a -- they're seeing something systemic in the process whether republican or democrat. it works. they don't talk. don't communicate. this reminds me what led up to 9/11. they weren't connecting even the simplest of puzzles here. >> but think about it this way, neil. between 9/11 and 2008, you didn't hear of this type of miscommunication and this type of misdirection. and dismissing information that's coming in from embassies
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in places like yemen for goodness sakes. that's because the bush administration had a particular emphasis. they understood what it was they were engaged in. the battle before them was this war as they described and defined -- >> isn't it the case, michael, not casting sides but this guys need to get lucky this one. >> exactly. i go back to the point -- i applaud the president for pulling in his team and sitting down and going what happened? let's figure out how to fix this so we don't have the problem going forward. my concern remains when you refuse to call a thing what it is, then the american people and those of us outside look at what if you won't call it what we see it to be, a war on terror or a terror or terrorists -- >> politically correct on this. >> i don't think you need to be politically correct. >> let's say you're a tsa agent
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and a muslim guy comes through the line. would you pull him aside? >> now you're talking about something completely different. >> no, that's part of being vigilant. >> no, that's not a part of being vigilant. that's something different which is not what america's about. this isn't about singling out muslims or those of the islamic faith. >> yemeni transfers might ends up in illinois. >> to the point you made initially, and i think that's really where it is, when you build in the infrastructure and the network in which you not destabilize central intelligence and their communications with national security and the f.b.i. and even local law enforcement, you're enhancing that, then the information you get flows through appropriately and you can get in place the checks and balanceses. more to the point, if you build out your network on the ground in places like yemen, in places like afghanistan and so forth,
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you then enhance the opportunity to not make those mistakes going forward. you don't have to single out someone or profile them because of their faith to get at the bad actors here. it's pretty obvious if you build the network in place. going back to the '70s to the carter presidency where they destabilized the central intelligence agency where they took away the ability to collect this information 30 plus years ago and now you layer on top of that the inability to do the enhanced interrogations to get this information. we want to lawyer everybody up and have the lawyers become -- >> let me ask if you don't mind the national security threat. janet napolitano is getting a lot of heat for minimizing this problem and maybe botching this whole situation. should she leave? >> i agree with the republican leadership that called for her resignation, yes. i think the risks are too high and the experience required to do this job is too great. i think on both fronts she's
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fallen short. >> let's talk a little about the economy and whether that's feeding this terrorist activity. that they're looking at our economic woes better than they were but they're still woes and saying these guys are focussed on healthcare, focussed on economic stimulus and not focussed on us. so how about it? >> the one thing government can't do and that is multitask. we talk about healthcare. we can't talk about the economy. we talk about the economy, we can't talk about national security. and what republican leadership, you know, and others understand is it's all connected. this is all connected together. you pull out one piece, the others feel the ripple effect. you talk about the airline industry. you saw what happened on 9/11 to a sector of our economy because of the act in this area. so the reality -- >> so are you afraid that even the fear of something like this happening, that we came close to something happening, is going to keep people away from the airports or flip that around,
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just afraid to fly because of an incident. >> i don't think it gets to that point. and, again, this is what i talk about in the book. when it comes to issues like national security, the american people are looking for a steady hand. someone who appreciates the dangers around us and can anticipate by pulling together the resources, c.i.a., f.b.i., nsa to the table getting everybody communicating with state and local authorities. governor ehrlich and i in our first week had to deal with security threats because of the elevation of the threat level at that time. we had to be prepared in our states. so we're looking to federal leadership to give us the guidepost we need so we provide for that defense closer to home. it's all connected. >> concerns that republicans -- the defining issues for republicans we elected, then it got to be less as time went on. and to the point now post this
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accident or near accident didn't have it on top of the list of worries. now it is for the moment. how long do you think it is? >> that's a good question. i think in this round, if you will, people are going to be a little more hesitant to go back to normal. to go back to putting it number 7, 10, 20 on their list of priorities. >> but will republicans go back? >> no -- >> seem very divides. you know, there's this group. just today we had the florida republican party chairman jim greer resign. he was the one supported the governor i think for senate. the challenger was getting very annoyed. all of a sudden he's out. and it seems like there's an increasing division among republicans, among the superconservative, the tea-partyers if you will and those sort of the moderates. what do you make of that? >> what i make of it, it's a
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great line for the democrats to talk about. a division and play that up, distract us from the failed attempts at national security, the failed attempts of economic recovery. but i'm gonna say, the reality of it is without the white house, eight years we had the white house kind of boxing that and controlling that. that's what white houses do with their national parties. you have that lid off. there is this expansion, this explosion of examining where we're going next and how do we get there? that's why i wrote this book. this book is an attempt to lay out that blueprint, that battle plan for dealing with an administration -- >> i read that. this -- we're going to talk later on but this looks like a book written by a tea-partyer. >> as i like to tell people, long before there was this big push on tea parties, if i wasn't doing this job, i'd be out there with the tea partyers. >> they say they don't identify with republicans necessarily. >> that's fine.
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that's absolutely fine. >> that's where i get back to nancy discuss am. >> swell, the skizism is overrated. the reality is there's enough things we have in common to fight for than to waste time fighting against each other on one or two things that don't really matter. >> michael, seek out vulnerable republicans that they say are not true to the cause. >> right, right. >> you're the rnc guy in charge of trying to keep the peace it. >> and that's what i -- well, i maintain the peace as best i can. but at the end of the day i don't get to cast that vote. the people in that district and that community do. if that incumbent has done his or her job and stayed true to principles that touch on national security, things that really matter to folks right now, they shouldn't have things to worry about -- >> the local election.
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as much an agenda -- >> let's put the jim greer resignation in perspective. there's a lot more going on there than meets the eye. the chairman, it's a tough job, an important state. he understood his presence was creating more division and made that decision. >> when he was supporting charlie and the guy was up 40 points in the poll. then all of a sudden charlie crist isn't up -- >> maybe that's why i'm getting back to this conservative movement in the party or whatever you want to call it. i don't want to put labels. it's more pronounced than we know. >> that was true for the democrats after '94 and true for us after '06 and '08. i think now as a national ch cham -- chairman to have a point of reference. right now -- >> very good, you bring the title back. >> well, you know, i learned from you! >> learned from you. >> keep it clear.
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now we have the president soon and sort of deal with this airline terror stuff. he's gotta be very clear. now there's thought among a lot of people that follow this far more closely than i did that his presidency itself could be shifting gears. what do you make of that. becomes a more -- >> i say because, remember, they sort of played or downplayed the whole terrorism thing during -- 'cause they knew that was john mccain's strong suit. we're not going to play to our opponents strong suit. you're now president and that is the suit and you have to wear it every single day. so when i hear members of congress on the democratic side, when i hear those on the left bringing back george bush's apparition from the past to remind us of darker days which is crazy nonsense, the reality of it is you, mr. president, now have to step up and take ownership of this. this happened on your watch. george bush made it clear on the definition of terrorism and the
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war on terror. you, sir, have muddled the waters by calling it something other than what it is. now you have to deal with the consequences having done that and we'll see what the president has to say on that. >> michael, you've been very kind sitting with us. who better to chat with. healthcare. big issue. that's another closed door that's going to be going on a little later today. and nancy pelosi, despite the closed-door session planned today and all the others that preceded it says it's a very open process, how the speaker referred to it. >> i will say that there has never been a more open process for any legislation than anyone who served here experience. (laughter) >> i'm sorry. some things are funnier than most others. and that's just laughable. >> they try to be open with you guys and you shut 'em down.
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>> i mean, you know what i give her credit for, she said it with a straight face. if you go back, she had a little smile. nancy knows good and well there was nothing open about this process. nor is there anything open about this conference process. they're short changing the process as much as they can. they're telling the liberals, shut up, be quiet, we've got your back. as manual says sends something to the white house for the signing and we'll fix it on the back end. >> your fear is they'll get something. >> they're gonna get something -- >> once they have something, that is the proverbial camel nose under the tent. >> the nose under the tent and the charge of mitch mcconnell and john boehner and myself as governors around the country, we will elect senators to undo it.
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>> you cannot bring about prosperity. you cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. can't not further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred and on and on. >> mom had a way. she put things in perspective. those weren't her words, but when you look at how she raised me and what she instilled in me as a young man -- >> up on posters in your house or what? (laughter) >> no. they were written on the belt that she would use from time to time to remind me of the difference between right and wrong. and we need more of that. right now our party has had a little bit of a whopin' by the american people over the last four years. they've etched those words on their belt in election after election to remind us that if you stay true to principle, if you stay true to who you are as conservatives, you'll be all right. if you don't, we have a belt waitin' fo you. >> everything else right now.
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michael steel the guy, the head of the republican national committee. thank you. >> thank you. >> all right. as i said the president of the united states is expected to outline his sort of a new airline policy now in light of this guy who is in his underwear and try to sort of blow up the plane and take out 300 people with him. it failed but did we just get lucky. >> is that terror plot going exactly as planned. we'll explain. hey, who's this?
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>> neil: all right. on a day the president is supposed to outline what he will do to make us safer in the sky, indication out of two airports today that things are at least anxious before you get in the sky. at minneapolis/st. paul international airport, they are still trying to see if a bomb might have made its way into this country from an inbound flight. dog sniffers are there trying to ascertain whether or not that's the case. sometimes that's not the case. most times it's not the case.
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but they're just being extra sure and have shut down a large section of the airport. i don't know what section. by the baggage claim, ticketing area i'm told. to bakersfield, california, you might have heard about this incident early they're they found suspicious material inside luggage that prompted the shutdown of that airport. it turns out it was five soft drink bottles filled with honey. that crisis passes. nevertheless, we all remember the crisis from a couple of weeks back on christmas day. di did they announce that attack? catherine herridge has more on that. >> they claimed a posting and now it appears that there is a hint in that that an attack is in the pipeline. he writes there is no way back to the jihad movement.
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>> awlaki is linked to the fort hood shooting. he was a spiritual advisor to the fort hood shooting nidal malik hasan. a month later in november, abdulmutallab's father went to the u.s. embassy in nigeria after a phone call from his son which sources say abdulmutallab claimed it would be their last conversation. the 23-year-old did not mention he would get on a plane. the father met with a c.i.a. officer and that meeting was the basis of a state department cable obtained by fox news. it reads in part information at post suggests subject may be involved yemeni based extremists. abdulmutallab travelled previously to u.k., lomatogo and dubai uae. the white house offered this observation a short time ago -- >> i think when the president talks about systemic failure, he does not absolve any agency in this process as a
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review looks through what happened. >> reporter: current informer intelligence officials say one of the central questions is whether the national counterterrorism center, or ntct, specifically created after 9/11 to connect the dots is effective. critics s critic s s critics say white house counterterrorism john brennan has stake in this because that was his baby. >> neil: if you are just joining us, there were partial shutdowns at the airport after a police dog detected what could be explosion i material found in some luggage from an inbound foreign flight. that's all we're told. from a foreign flight. don't know whether it's from europe, latin america, but nevertheless, indications are that the dog sniffers are there. and a lot of folks who were there hoping to get on flights aren't going to be getting there anytime soon. we're joined now by former
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assistant secretary of defense, the same day that the president is coming up with a plan to deal with this sort of stuff. >> that's why his address is late. he's probably waiting. >> exactly. >> he does not want to make a speech and two minutes later have it overtaken. >> neil: what does he have to say? >> the biggest problem that the president has, don't just fire one or two people and think it solves it. it doesn't solve it. we have looked the wrong way on the terrorist issue from the beginning. both presidents bush and obama have done it. they have been looking for the weapons terrorists might use. that's useful, but we are still taking off our shoes long after the shoe bomber has gone off doing something else. we need to start looking -- >> neil: because of that guy we had to take off our shoes. >> we need to look at terrorists. not racial profile but terrorist profile. we need -- because if we look just at the weapons that may might use, take off your shoes, don't use that bottle of water and don't take the toothpaste tube on the plane, we will be a step behind. the guys are clever, adapti adaptive.
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they've moved on. they're not in afghanistan, they're in yemen. they're not even in yemen. they're in cyber space. the announcement that appeared on a blog no catherine herridge talked about, it means al-qaeda moved to cyber space. we look for them where they used to be. we look for the weapon they used before. we have to look ahead of this. >> neil: you pointed out be careful what you think you see. >> right. >> neil: it could be an elaborate head fake the incident. what do you mean? >> it might be a hehead-fake, but you have to make sure it's not. we're still looking at airplanes. we're still looking at shoe bombers. we're still looking in suitcases. where else should we be looking? ports. one of the things that is a very vulnerable part of the united states infrastructure is ports. what if a ship comes in, pleasure craft comes in to manhattan and it has an explosive device on it and parks underneath the 59th street bridge and blows it up, then what happens? manhattan shuts down. but every other city in the united states, every mayor says i might be next. we shut those down. we're looking at this in a very after-the-fact catch-up
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ball kind of way. we need to look proactively. >> neil: you might be right. one of the al-qaeda operatives, was saying, we're going to hit the water next. as we look at this scene in minneapolis/st. paul, where they have a partial shutdown because bomb sniffers are looking for a bomb that might have come in and luggage from abroad, but nevertheless, everything always goes back to the airports. everything goes back to the planes. why is that? >> i think they found that the majority of the american economy flies one way or another. and that's where we are the most vulnerable psychologically. >> neil: a bit of economics. >> it will have an economic effect and a psychological effect. the other thing i think that is very important in this whole debate is why are we treating the guys like citizens? why are we giving potential terrorists or suspected terrorists the rights of citizens and putting them in civili civilian court? >> neil: now on the news we talk to the enemies that will go back to gitmo. >> heading back. >> neil: sent to illinois.
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what do you make of that? >> why are we endangering illinois or new york city to have the trial of the sheikh in new york city? when we take for example, when christmas day bomber got off that plane, he started talking right away to the f.b.i. but -- and what he said they're more like me and more coming. then what happened? he got his miranda rights read to him. he's not a citizen, he doesn't have miranda rights. he got lawyered up and he clammed up. >> neil: is that what happened? >> he stopped talking. what does he know? we don't know. but wouldn't it be nice if we knew who, when, where, what? >> neil: this is the photo we're getting from the meeting a few minutes ago that the president hhad. >> that is the white house situation room. >> neil: thank you for telling me. >> i worked there this for seven years. >> neil: he will glean thoughts and recommendations from everyone on the team. what do they generally tell a president? >> first, they're going to be protecting their turf and saying it wasn't my fault. you have everybody around the table with a piece of that action. they're all going to say it was somebody else. i couldn't have been
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expected. >> neil: who gets served -- is janet napolitano? i think i see her. >> on the right. >> what is going to happen to her? she is on the right there. >> i think she probably will not have that job a year from now. >> neil: really? >> i don't think it solves the problem. if you just fire somebody, that's window dressing. you have to address the root of the problem. we're treating citizens like terrorists and terrorists like citizens and giving civilian rights to people who don't deserve them and always looking at the last attack like a general fights the last war and we're not looking ahead to what the next attack might be. >> neil: how quickly can the president turn around a meeting like that and in a few minutes go before the american people with a list of recommendations? >> i think pretty quickly. >> neil: really? >> yeah. what he has to do is reassure the american people one way or another that he has this under control. i mean the problem that president obama has had in this whole issue and others is he says everything is just fine, and then the average guy on the street says huh? this doesn't make any sense. i've been taking my shoes off for eight years and checking my hand luggage and standing in long lines for eight
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years. >> neil: do you think americans are more open to the possibility, though, now, that look, we're going to be taking images of you in your birthday suit. deal with it. >> sure. i think americans want to be safe and reassured by the government they're kept safe and the extra efforts that they're making are worth something. instead of the notion that some guy is getting on a plane carrying what he was carrying, no return ticket, no luggage. paid cash. and dad had turned him in, you know, three months ago. i mean that's just -- >> neil: how does that happen, by the way? i don't want to push the line here, but such a sequential breakdown in communication. >> every step of the way. whatever -- the one thing that really should have set off bells was in nigeria with one of the most respected members of that community went in and met with the officials in the american embassy and in effect turned in his son. can you imagine what that would have taken to say i'm worried about my son? >> neil: dropped the ball? >> i don't know.
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i guess everybody sitting around the room is trying to pretend it wasn't them that dropped the ball. >> neil: you have been with the presidents when they do this. >> yes. >> neil: do they get ballistic and say, "what the hell happened here?" >> some do and some don't. this president is not terribly ballistic. >> neil: who was the most ballistic president? >> reagan when he felt something was very wrong. nixon occasionally. yeah, i would say reagan when he thought the american people were being snookered or something bad had been done to them. then -- he didn't get mad often but when he got mad he was firm and followed through with what he said. >> neil: as do you, young lady. k.t. mcfarland, appreciate it. thank you. happy new year. we're waiting for the terror address from the president of the united states on the day we had terror concerns all over the place. early this morning in bakersfield, california, where they shut that airport down amid concerns that there might have been contaminated material coming in the country. turns out it was some suspicious cans of soda. and, and in minneapolis today
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right now the scene, minneapolis/st. paul international airport, dog sniffers on hand. bomb snitch sniffers on hand tod out if luggage that arrived from incoming foreign flight, we don't from where whether it was from asia, latin america or europe, might be a bomb or at least the makings of a bomb. they're playing this cautiously and shutting a large part of that airport down, which, of course, is a gateway to a lot of folks who travel from the west to the east, to switching and turning spot. for those that use this sort of like a turning airport for american airline and delta airlines and northwest and what have you. bottom line here, this kind of stuff keeps happening. and maybe in light of the developments on christmas day where a guy tried to blow up an airplane we're more attune to this and probably being extra cautious because of this. but they're deciding at least in minneapolis/st. paul, the better part of valor is to
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keep much of the airport closed and much of the baggage terminal shut down as they hunt not only the bag and suspect here, but hundreds of other piece of luggage in the process. one of the things you should know as well is when the president addresses the nation after meeting with his top security advisors in what is supposed to be a five or six-minute address is how you police not only guys who get on planes intent to blow them up with means that were never heretofore considered but then how do you protect airli airlines and the folks who fly those airlines and those planes? more to the point, how do you police foreign airports? foreign countries? after all, this was a plane in the case of the northwest delta flight that was coming in from amsterdam. do you start telling those in amsterdam what your guidelines are and that you have to adhere to the u.s. guidelines? do you start applying the same to planes coming in from
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russia or yemen or any of the other places that are on these now new security watch lists? where a number in congress are urging flights no longer go or come frfrom. it's a bit of an economic pickle for the president and the airline industry that said go slow on telling us where we can fly in and out of. charles schlep, noted airline aviation watcher who warned about repeated incidents here with me now. what do you make of this? >> well, we have discussed it before, neil. i knew it was going to happen and it will happen again. you keep focussing on what people do and people's failures. we have haven't focussed enough on technology and what technology can do. we heard a lot about the machine, that looks through the clothing, the full body image scanner. we heard about the -- >> neil: would that solve a lot of it if every airport had it? >> i'm not convinced it really works to tell you the truth. it shows you an object on the
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person, which may be different from what you expect. but a lot of people have a lot of objects affixed to their bodies. some of them are medical objects and so on. we need to be able to do is evaluate what is in that particular container. we need to use the technology that tells us chemically this is a bomb or it's not a bomb. we've known about this -- >> neil: what if you had pieces that together will form a bomb, but aren't caught by authorities because they're still in their predeveloped stages? >> that is a good question. the answer is really in the software. the software takes all of those pieces on a person, puts them together and says if you join them up, you will have a bomb here. >> neil: that gets in a witch hunt. then any liquid, at any time, mixed with anything is suddenly suspect. >> well, at least we know there is something secreted away that may be a bomb. as opposed to just looking at
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a machine and saying this doesn't look right. i'm going to pull somebody out of line. remember, we did this with the ctx machine even before 9/11. >> neil: what is the difference between the one that puffs air? i'm really showing my ignorance, and the one that does the full birthday suit? >> the puffer machine technically is a good idea. the problem is it examines what you blow off the surface of your garment. what is up in the air, it sniffs it. and it tells you again chemically this is a bomb. but if you don't have a sloppy terrorist who manages to smear some on his outer garments we still don't know. we need the technology that the department of defense uses to determine whether there is an ied. >> neil: what do you want -- the president is going to speak any second. what do you want to hear out of him? >> i want to hear we'll focus more on technology. i want to hear that we're going to bring your intelligence agencies up to speed so that when they have intelligence information, we
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manage to homogenize it and put it together and move on the information we have. there is nothing new on what happened on december 25. >> neil: thank you. the president of the united states now on what some consider his first terror address. >> i just concluded a meeting with members of my national security team. including those from our intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement agencies involved in the security reviews that i ordered after the failed attack on christmas day. i called these leaders to the white house because we face a challenge of the utmost urgency. as we saw on christmas, al-qaeda and its extremists allies will stop at nothing in their efforts to kill americans. and we are determined not only to thwart those plans but to disrupt, dismantle and defeat their networks once and for all. indeed over the past year, we have taken the fight to al-qaeda and the allies, wherever they plot and frame. be it in afghanistan and
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pakistan, yemen and somalia, or in other countries around the world. here at home, our intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement agencies have worked together with considerable success. gathering intelligence, stitching it together and making arrests from denver to texas, from illinois to new york. disrupting plots and saving american lives. these successes have not come without a price, as we saw last week the loss of our courageous c.i.a. officers in afghanistan. but when a suspected terrorist is able to board plane with explosives on christmas day the system has failed in a potentially disastrous way. it is my responsability to find out why and correct the failure to prevent attacks in the future. that is why shortly after the attempted bombing over detroit i ordered two reviews.
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i directed director of homeland security janet napolitano to review aviation screening, technology and procedures. she briefed me on her initial findings today. i'm pleased that this review is drawing on the best science and technology, including the expertise of secretary of energy steven choo and his department. i directed the counterterrorism and homeland security advisor john brennan to lead a thorough review in the terrorist watch listing system so we can fix what went wrong. as we discuss today, the ongoing review continues to reveal more about the human and systemic failures that almost cost nearly 300 lives. we will make a summary of the preliminary report public in the next few days but let me share what we know so far. as i described over the weekend, elements of the intelligence community knew that umar farouk abdulmutallab traveled to yemen and joined up with
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emtre emdreamists there -- extremists there. it turns out the intelligence community new of other red flags that the al-qaeda in arabian peninsula sought to strike american targets in yemen but the united states itself. we know they were working with the individual who was s now known as the individual in the christmas day attack. the bottom line is the u.s. government had sufficient information to uncover the plot and potentially disrupt the christmas day attack but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots. which would have placed the suspect on the no fly list. in other words, this was not a failure to collect intelligence. it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had. the information was there, and they had access to it and
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the professionals were trained to look for it and bring it all together. i will accept that intelligence by itself nature is imperfect. but it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyz analyzed or fully leveraged. that's not acceptable. i will not tolerate it. time and again we learned that quickly piecing together information and taking swift action is critical to staying one step ahead of a nimble adversary. we have to do better and we will do better. we have to do it quickly. american lives are on the line. i made it clear to the team i want the initial reviews completed this week and i want recommendations for corrective actions to fix what went wrong. i have want the reforms implef meanted immediately -- implemented immediately so it doesn't happen again and we can prevent future attacks. i know that every member of my team that i met with today understands the urgency of getting this right. and i appreciate that each of them took responsibility for
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the shortfalls within their own agencies. immediately after the attack i orded steps to protect the american people. new screening for all flights, domestic and international. more explosive detection teams at airports, more air marshals on flights. and deepening cooperation with international partners. in recent days we have taken additional steps. they reviewed and updated the terrorist watch list system, including adding more individuals to the no fly list. while the review found the watch listing system is not broken, the failure to add abdulmutallab to the no-fly list shows that this system needs to be strengthening. the state department is requiring embassy and consulate to include visa information in the warning on individuals with terrorist or suspected terrorist connections. as of yesterday the tsa is
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requiring enhanced screening for passengers flying in the united states from or flying through nations on our list of state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest. in the days ahead i'll announce further steps to disrupt attacks including better information of integration and enhanced passenger screening for air travel. finally, someone suggested that the events on christmas day should cause us to revisit the decision to close the prison at guantanamo bay. so let me be clear. it was always our intent to transfer detainees to other countries only under conditions that provide assurances that our security is being protected. with respect to yemen in particular, there is an ongoing security situation which we have been confronting for some time along with our to yemeni partner. given the unsettled situation, i've spoken to the attorney general and we've agreed that we will not be transferring additional detainees back to yemen at this time. but make no mistake.
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we will close guantanamo prison, which has damaged our national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al-qaeda. in fact, that was explicit rationale for formation of al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula. as i've always said, we will do so, we will close the prison in a manner that keeps the american people safe and secure. our reviews and the steps that we take and will continue to take go to the heart of the kind of intelligence and homeland security we need in the 21st century. just as al-qaeda and its allies are constantly evolving and adapting their efforts to strike us, we have to constantly adapt and evolve to defeat them. because as we saw on christmas, the margin for error is slim. and the consequences of failure can be catastrophic. as the violent extremists pursue new havens we intend
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to target al-qaeda wherever they take root. as our adversaries seek new recruits we'll constantly review and rapidly update our intelligence and our i instituti institutions. as we refine our tactics we'll enhance defenses including the smarter screening and security at airports and s investing in technologies that might have detected the explosives used on christmas. in short, we need intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement systems and the people in them to be accountable and work as intended. collecting, sharing, analyzing and acting on intelligence as quickly and effectively as possible to save innocent lives. not just most of the time, but all of the time. that is what the american people deserve and as president that's what i demand.
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thank you very much. >> neil: the president making it clear on the ongoing airline concerns and the shutdown briefly today up two prominent u.s. airports, both of them reopening as he spoke, for example, minneapolis/st. paul has reopened. this concern about a bomb on a bag coming in, apparently eased now. so all planes that were temporarily grounded and large swath of the airport that was shut down are now reopened. but the president indicating on that christmas day near tragedy we failed to connect the dots and we failed to act promptly. and he has asked his security advisors to move promptly and by the end of the week get recommendations how they tighten up security not only here but worldwide. and to make sure that we do our best to protect the american flying public. he also indicated with regard with guantanamo bay and prisoners there as to whether it would effect the eventual
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shutdown which he still aims to do, that gitmo will indeed be shut down. but a lot of the yemeni prisoners who were there, who were supposed to go back to yemen will not go back there. there was talk earlier on they might be transferred to the illinois prison facility, as will be at least two dozen other gitmo detainees. he did not outline where the yemeni detainees will go but they won't go back to yemen. reaction right now with aviation security expert charles schlep. broad blueprint, we have to move, move fast and get off our duff. i think i heard it before. >> we have, neil. right after 9/11 we heard that we failed to connect the dots. we failed to take into consideration who the individuals were and the background and so on. was this a foreseeable risk this time? as it was then? yes. richard reid the shoe bomber told us by his actions that there was an attempt to bring on explosive materials to an
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airplane. we needed to determine whether or not a passenger had it. remember, richard reid was examined not once, but twice. not on one day, but two days and still managed to board an airplane. that was eight years ago. we should be doing a lot better. i compliment the president on taking responsibility for what happened this time. we have haven't done a good job. i would recommend we also take a look at accountability. somebody slip and somebody needs to pay for it. maybe it will send a message. >> neil: with that someone, the obvious name mentioned is janet napolitano, homeland of security director. should she be that person? >> i don't know who the someone is who slipped. i tend to believe somehow heads of agencies are not hands-on people. i don't know if her predecessors would have done differently from what she did this time. this is not an endorsement of janet napolitano or anybody else that preceded her. but let me say that there are things we know and need to
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proce proceed with. technology was mentioned again. that was mentioned after pan am 103. we know for a long time that we need improve technology to identify a bomb. not the persons carrying it but the bomb itself. there are too many people to identify if we do it the other way around. let's move forward now with serious technology. if we are going to invest in it, brick in the experts left out of the loop. mit, cal tech, other places. >> neil: do you feel safe flying? >> i feel safe flying because statistically the odds are on my side. do i feel safe in the nation with regard to can this kind of thing happen again? no. i think it can happen. and it will happen unless we change the way we approach the problem. >> neil: do you find it interesting that again and again and again it's airlines, airplanes, airports? >> as far back as the gore commission, they made the
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statement that terrorists will continue to attack airplanes because nothing frightens us more than the notion of an airliner at 30,000 feet blowing up in the sky. >> neil: even though -- not to pick your poison here, but if you were to do this, i mean a busy train station, urban area, grand central station, you could take out more people. >> it's not the people. it's the drama. >> neil: there is more drama in the sky? >> absolutely. >> neil: that's why they keep going back to it. >> they will continue to keep going back to this as long as they can. we hear -- >> neil: we try to build a bigger mousetrap and they come up with a smarter rat. >> only science can build that mouse trap. we can move people around and change heads of agencies, whip law enforcement agencies and so on but science can protect us. >> neil: we wait for science to protect us. thank you for helping us out on this, a day the president of the united states made clear he realizes terror is a
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concern, safety in the air is a concern and he has his top advisors moving fast. by the end of the week, telling him how to make it less of a concern and less of a worry. we shall see. that will do it. glen is now. captioned by closed captioning services, inc ke way too long to say goodnight? . mary ellen: g'night mama. g'night erin. elizabeth: g'night john boy. jim bob: g'night grandpa. elizabeth: g'night ben. jim bob:'night. elizabeth: g'night jim bob. jim bob: g'night everybody, grandpa: g'night everybody. jim bob: g'night daddy. vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.
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Your World With Neil Cavuto
FOX News January 5, 2010 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

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